There's no water coming from the bathroom tub water outlet or the
shower head. My tub has a setup of three twist valves. One for hot,
one for cold and one for the shower head. Recently, I remove both
valves on the hot and cold side to look for the source of the problem.
And surely enough, water sprays all over thru the valve stem. I also
find nothing wrong with the valves itself.
Apparently, it's clogged somewhere. My only solution is to replace
the pipes behind the shower wall. My buddy tells me I don't have to
replace the pipes. He had the same problem from hard water and said
that a plumber came in and took only 30 minutes to unclog his. What
is a practical method to unclog a tub water outlet?
The center "twist valve" controls whether the water goes up
to the shower or down to the tub spout. All the water must
go through the center valve. Take that stem out and see if
something is clogging right there. It is also possible that
something in the stem came apart/broke and is blocking the flow.
While the center stem is out, you can turn the water on and
flush it out.
You already got some good advice from "Speedy Jim" (I won't make fun of
his name). The problem is probably in the diverter valve (the middle
handle). Take it apart & clean it & look inside the valve body with a
flashlight. There are several different designs, but usually there's a
rubber washer at the end of the diverter stem, and a rubber gasket that
slides up halfway. One controls the water to the spout, and the other to the
shower head. While the stem is out, flush it by opening the hot and cold
If the gasket or washer is missing, take the stem to a shop & have them
give you repair parts.
>them give you repair parts.
Based on the advices, I went back and remove the center diverter
valve. I turn the hot and cold water on. Nothing happens but a small
drip which had nothing before. I then shut off the water main and
remove the cold water valve. I a blew a breath of air into the cold
pipe side. It appears to be clogged because no air is passing thru.
I then notice the rubber valve seal on the cold side had a chip off its
side. The hot water seal had no chip. I also notice no hard water buildup
on the brass pipe. What could be causing the blockage?
Did you look inside the valve body where the center handle is? It sounds
like the washer has fallen off, and is lodged where the water comes through.
Take a stiff wire, or end of a coat hanger, and try to ream things out.
The way you wrote, I assumed this problem happened suddenly. Did it?
The center valve appears in good condition. It's almost identical to
the hot and cod side valve. Its washer appears in tact. With a flashlight
I can see straight ahead that there are no debris of any kind in the center
pipe. I tried a coat hanger but couldn't get the coat hanger to make that 90-
degree turn in order to dislodge any debris between the cold valve and
center valve. I am still looking for a bicycle brake cable and a 100-psi
bicycle air tank to see if I can get it unclog.
The clog didn't appear overnight. One day, a stream of water, maybe
1-gallon per minute, came thru. The next day, 1/2-gallon per minute. Then
one evening it begins to completely clog.
This is an interesting and stubborn problem. It's still safe to assume, I
think, that the same problem is causing both hot & cold to flow slowly. I'd
say at this point, the bicycle pump is a good stab. If that doesn't work,
then you might need professional help.
There is a slight chance that something really weird has taken place
that's impossible to diagnose over the internet. A good plumber will figure
it out. When you finally solve it, let us know. (I'm still betting on a
lodged rubber gasket or washer)
I see stuff like that a lot on galv pipe.
sometimes I can clear it by banging on it with hammer.
I keep turning the valves on and off and try to vibrate the pipes.
Its real bad on some of the houses I winterize, I have to get rid of
all the crud out of the tubs first so I dont clog the toilets and sinks
when turning water back on.
diverter. With older houses that have galvanized piping or "sandy"
water, these clog sometimes. you have to find a way to plug the tub
spout or the shower head and force water or air back through the
system. The problem is you usually need to take the stems out so you
have to shut the water off. This means running a hose from a well or
neighbors placed unless you have a circulating pump for hot water and
can do one side at a time. To hook the water or air up to the shower
spout, Ace will have a 1/2 by hose adapter. One you get a back flow
going, a good shop vac will help. Good luck......! By the way...
replacing the pipes will do no good.
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